As part of our year-long celebration of The Great British Bathroom, we’re looking farther afield for inspiration—over 5,000 miles, in fact! In this article, we’ll show you how to “get the look” with your very own Oriental Spa.
The Far East has always been well-known for its bathing culture and ritualistic approach to cleansing, so it’s hardly surprising that this region should have such influence on bathrooms all over the world.
From electronic toilets to water-saving basins, Japan is often considered to be light years ahead when it comes to bathroom technology, whilst China leads the way in the global manufacturing of bathroom ceramics.
So, let’s take a closer look at a bathroom design that has Far Eastern influences at its very heart, which we’ve named “Oriental Spa”.
Why is Oriental Spa popular?
With an ever-increasing pace of life, it can seem like we spend most of our time rushing about, rather than taking time to unwind and clear our minds. To counteract this, there has been growing focus on personal wellness and wellbeing, with bathrooms and bathing in general becoming ever more important.
In the Western world, the bathroom is often viewed as a very functional space, in which we enjoy a morning wash, perhaps an evening bath, and answer the call of nature when it arises. However, in Far Eastern cultures, particularly Japan, greater emphasis is placed on bathing as a method of relaxation and reflection, with sento (public bath houses) being very common.
As an antidote to modern life, you can now begin to see why an Oriental Spa bathroom is so appealing.
Why not take a look at the room set we created for the Ideal Home Show?
What is the look?
When it comes to Oriental Spa style, there is no single look. The countries and cultures that make up the Far East are simply too vast to pin down an exact style. However, Oriental décor has always been popular throughout history, due to its exotic flavour and emphasis on a simple, clean aesthetic.
Practiced in China for hundreds of years, the art of Feng shui, has a huge influence on interiors in the Far East. Based on the notion that certain objects have their own positive and negative energy, rooms must be carefully planned out to create harmony and balance between these forces.
To allow positive energy to flow freely, a light, open plan room is a great starting point. Straight, thin lines, a minimalist approach to accessories, wooden decking and thin wall partitions are all common features of an Oriental Spa style bathroom.
You’ll often discover elements we may consider unusual, such as a water feature (the sound and sight of flowing water is thought to be very relaxing—so who can argue?) or an indoor plant area.
Colours often mimic those found in nature, so stone and wood colourings, whether light or dark, are often the most common.
Inspiration for your Oriental Spa bathroom
No matter how large or small your bathroom space may be, there’s always room to create a particular look or theme. With the Oriental Spa look, you can go as big and bold as you like, or keep it pared back for an uncluttered, minimalist style.
To help you on your way, I’ve created a couple of mood boards (above and below), which will help you visualise some of the colours, materials, products and accessories that could help transform your bathroom from ordinary to Oriental in next to no time.
So that you’re not limited to just one theme, I’ve included both darker and lighter colours into the mood board and provided a range of different accessories that will help lift your bathroom style, even if you’re not looking to completely replace your whole bathroom suite.
For more Oriental ideas for your bathroom, take a look at Pinterest or browse some of your favourite home interest magazines. In no time at all, you’ll find you have plenty of inspiration that will set you on the path to enlightenment.
Creating your own Oriental Spa bathroom
Working with my team of fellow designers and stylists here at VictoriaPlum.com, I’ve come up with my own interpretation of the Oriental Spa look with the room set below:
My Oriental Spa bathroom contains the following key elements:
- Minimalist style with clean, flowing lines
- Balance of “natural” dark and light colours
- Water feature (in the shape of integrated fish tanks)
- Centrepiece freestanding bath
- Indoor plants
- Contemporary toilet and basin with simple shapes
Choosing the right products for your Oriental Spa bathroom
Whilst the traditional bath in Far Eastern cultures is quite different from those we are used to in the Western world, it still forms the focal point of the bathroom.
With an emphasis on relaxation and wellbeing, a freestanding bath is the natural choice for your Oriental Spa bathroom. Look out for a clean, minimalist design, which comes without feet or any overly-ornate accessories.
In many Far Eastern cultures, a shower will often accompany the bath, as a way to rinse away impurities from your skin. That’s why I’ve included a separate shower installation in my room set.
If you have the space to spare, a shower enclosure means both you and your partner can use the bathroom at the same time, and allows you to pick and choose the type of wash you wish to indulge in. Choose a sliding door design that mimics the sliding doors used throughout East Asian interiors.
Basin & toilet
Your bathroom suite should be kept nice and simple, whilst promoting a clean, minimalist appearance.
A countertop basin brings a fresh, spa-like appeal, whilst a back to wall toilet, with no visible cistern or awkward recesses, is easy to maintain.
As a contemporary style, less really is more when it comes to choosing furniture for your Oriental Spa bathroom.
So as not to hinder the flow of energy throughout the room, you’ll need to be selective with what you keep in your bathroom. A discreet wall cabinet in a neutral colour helps keep your floor space clear, whilst keeping your room clutter-free.
Walls and floors
Tiles really are the perfect choice for your walls and floors. After all, you are looking to achieve a smooth, clean style that looks spotless.
Dark and light shades in a “natural” finish are ideal, and there are plenty of designs to choose from, including stone and wood effect. Combining black and white tiles in the same design brings a sense of balance and can have a powerful effect on your overall colour scheme.
Oriental Spa in an average-sized bathroom
Whilst our main room set depicts a particularly large bathroom, this doesn’t mean the style can’t be achieved in an average UK master bathroom. We’ve recreated the Oriental Spa style in a room measuring 3.1m (10 feet 2 inches) x 2m (6 feet 6 inches).
As you can see, we've still managed to keep both the separate freestanding bath and shower. By creating a wet room design, with waterproofed walls and floors, combined with a wet room shower tray that can be tiled over, the clean lines and uncluttered approach are maintained. A glass panel keeps splashes away from the basin area without blocking those all-important energy flows.
Head to our Small Spaces hub for more big ideas for small bathrooms.
Where can I buy these products?
We take a more in-depth look at which specific products you can use in part 2 of our Get the Look style guide. Head there now by clicking the banner below.
If you like this look, but don’t think it’s quite right for you, why not browse the rest of our simple-to-follow style guides? Or, check out our “Get the Look” page for the very latest in bathroom trends.
All this year, we're celebrating The Great British Bathroom, so why not head to our pages and discover more ideas for British bathrooms?